Issues & Insights

Never-Trumpers Need A Lesson In Basic Math

I&I Editorial

In his op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Walter Olson defends his decision to not vote for Trump four years ago by saying he will double-dog not vote for him this year.

Like every other never-Trumper, the reason is almost entirely personal.

“No modern president has shown so little care for or grasp of how government works … his conduct fell short of what Americans should expect … the lack of impulse control, the vindictive meanness of spirit, the Niagara of lies,” Olson writes.

He hoped Trump would, once in the White House, “put away childish things … and banish his internal Falstaff.” But alas, Olson writes, “Mr. Trump didn’t change. He won’t change now.”

Let’s leave aside the tenuous claim that Trump’s conduct disqualifies him. Compared to what? Bill Clinton’s Oval Office assignations with an intern? Barack Obama’s repeated attempts to bypass the Constitution to get his leftist policies enacted, or use the IRS and the FBI to hamper political opponents? And never mind about the illegal wars, mass internments, spying on political opponents, and other violations committed by past presidents.

Let’s even concede that Olson and other never-Trumpers are right that Trump has debased the office with his mean tweets, loose grasp of facts, and inappropriate off-the-cuff remarks.

So what?

No matter what happens in November, Trump will no longer be president a little more than four years from now. If he’s reelected, whatever damage he’s done to the office of the presidency can easily be restored and, as the nation has done in the past, we will move on.

But a Joe Biden win? That will harm the entire country. And the damage will last a lifetime.

If you don’t think so, look at the legacy of past Democrats who were able to shove their agendas through. Now in place for 55 years, Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare, Medicaid, and “Great Society” programs account for a third of the federal budget. (And their fiercest defenders are often Republicans.)

ObamaCare costs close to $100 billion a year (after Republicans betrayed voters and failed to repeal it).

Welfare dependency – another of Johnson’s legacies –  is the main cause of the disintegration of families and the perpetuation of poverty, despite Republican efforts to mitigate the damage.

For 40 years the Jimmy Carter-created Department of Education has been pouring taxpayer dollars into schools, achieving nothing on standardized tests while massively fueling college tuition inflation.

Liberal judges with lifetime appointments make a mockery of the separation of powers.

The list goes on.

Any self-described conservative who thinks that the wreckage caused by Biden’s far-left agenda can simply be undone by a (socially acceptable) conservative somewhere down the road is fooling themselves.

Once in place, government programs, even supposedly temporary ones, are impossible to eradicate. As Milton Friedman so aptly put it: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

And never forget that Biden has grand ambitions for his presidency – something we have detailed repeatedly in this space. (See, for example: “Convention Wrap Up: Dems Keep Joe Biden’s Agenda Hidden in the Basement,”The Stunning Gullibility Of ‘Republicans For Biden’,” “Has Democratic Party’s Far Left Hijacked Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign?,”  “Joe Biden’s Mask Mandate Is Only The Beginning.”)

Worse, should Democrats win the Senate, they will immediately move to eliminate the filibuster – they’ve already admitted as much. This will give the far left the opening it needs to carry out the radical Democratic Party agenda: nationalize health care, massively hike the minimum wage, grant amnesty to illegals, pack the Supreme Court, rewrite election laws, enact a radical social agenda, unleash regulators, and take over the entire economy by way of the farcical “Green New Deal.”

That prospect should horrify any conservative who’s been around long enough to know that you never want to let the left gain power.

So let’s acknowledge every complaint that never-Trumpers have about Trump. Their calculus still doesn’t add up.

Four more years of Falstaff is much, much better than a lifetime of socialist misery.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Never Trumpers fall into two categories, both of which we are better off to be without. One group is the Never Conservatives. Politicians who pretend to be Conservative to win an election, and then vote with the Liberal Democrats as often as they can. This is a group that Bush / McCain / Romney have fully endorsed and financially supported with RNC dollars.
    The second group is as much of a cancer to Conservatives as the first. The Virginally pure Conservative who will vote against any Conservative who does not pass a litmus test for proper behavior. Note that Virginal Conservatives refuse to fight for a cause because animosity is somehow beneath them (which is either a lie or a delusion…or both). Also note that VC’s don’t care if a Liberal wins, just so an imperfect Conservative doesn’t.
    Trump is rebuilding a Conservative movement that Bush/McCain/Romney have left a dumpster fire. Reagan tried to do this, but he gave us George ‘the first’ Bush, who promptly crapped all over Reagan’s success. Hopefully Trump chooses a better successor than Reagan did.

  • I don’t think Trump is Falstaff. He is a patriot who fights for the rest of us, whom he seems to genuinely appreciate. He is on the side of the citizens who make the country run by working in the private sector to pay for all the “benefits,” welfare, and the government workers needed to run the vast programs enacted by Democrats.

  • This article completely neglects the stunning accomplishments of “Falstaff”. The writer is an idiot.

  • “No modern president has shown so little care for or grasp of how government works”

    Which is EXACTLY why WE voted for him! Government is not working and when it does it is always against the people and not for them.

  • When I was young I remember going to the Doctor paying his fee. Taking my Prescription to the Pharmacy and paying in cash! I had Health Insurance but only for a Catastrophic illness or accident.
    No middle man from the Government!

  • Never Trumpers are at home at I & I. You say Trump has “debased the office”. You mean like FDR’s casual appeasement of Hitler? You mean like LBJ’s statement that he bought the perpetual black vote by condemning them to welfare ghettos? You mean like Clinton’s receipt of fellatio in the oval office and then outright lying about it? Or do you mean Obama’s directive to use the federal government to spy on a political opponent? Perhaps you meant debasement like Obama’s legacy of hyper-racist identity politics? Is that what you meant? Sometimes the stench from your veiled hit pieces is just overpowering. Obama left the middle east in flames. Can you remember that far back? Now ISIS is no longer a major threat, Iran is under pressure, and Trump just helped cement the first actual peace accord in how many decades?

    • The editorial as originally written may have implied we agreed with never-Trumpers on Trump’s character flaws. Our point is that even if you concede that, which we don’t necessarily do, it shouldn’t matter for the reasons we go on to state. The editorial has been updated to more precisely convey that.

  • “ For 40 years the Jimmy Carter-created Department of Education has been pouring taxpayer dollars into schools, achieving nothing on standardized tests while massively fueling college tuition inflation.”

    While I am in agreement with this article’s comments, there is a an example of a Republican president who shot us in our collective feet, Richard Nixon, and his gift that keeps on giving, the EPA.

  • A lesson in Math and a lesson in History for sure…Never Trumpers fall in various categories; the Ego driven who are no longer relevant, the Military Industrial Complex types, those that thought they had power and control but are now out of the loop, and then there are those that were working behind the scenes to bring us into the New World Order. Those that were lining their pockets and filling their coffers at the expense of me the the rest of ordinary tax paying Patriots who could Never seem to get out from under their evil intent…We saw what was happening for Many years, but didn’t know what to do about it or how to change it. We knew the system was rigged and both the Democrats and the Republicans were complicit in this destruction, selling out our America. In comes Donald J. Trump, a business man who couldn’t be bought, who loves America and her citizens and has a strong determination, desire and plan along with Critical Thinking Skills, Common Sense and Drive to Make America Great Again. Yes; We the People saw all this from the beginning and were called Deplorables and worse for Our strong passion to get America back as we remember her; as our Founding Fathers had intended; back to the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Founding Documents and Rule of Law. Longing to see the Traitors, the Liars, Thieves, Crooks, Deceivers held accountable for their evil deeds against America and her people. We are the majority, but you wouldn’t know it by the Lying MSM…This battle is NOT over by a long shot as the Deep State will not give up easily. There is too much at stake; follow the Money and of course Control. When President Trump is definitively and clearly re-elected on November 3rd, the Deep State will still try to bring him down by any means possible and the Patriots will be ready…Pray as never before for a Nation that is the Best on our Planet, a Nation that is worth Fighting for; America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

  • Never Trumpers are like some kind of weird, near extinct bird. Kristol is the worst one, Rubin is another, throw all Republicans in there from the Bush days. They are as bad as any democrat, but without the convictions. Krauthammer was the only guy that eventually came around. The New Republican party is not run by rich old white guys (like me but I am not rich!) anymore, but is a diverse and wide ranging group of young and old. The NTs just need to register as dems, and they will have found their party.

  • 1) Um .. you mentioned basic math. I saw exactly no math in this article.

    2) the damage Trump will do will be fixed once he’s out of office, but the damage Biden will do will last a lifetime? Biased much? How about the makeup of the Supreme Court? If Ginsberg leaves office, the court will be 6-3 Conservative, which would all but insure the overturn of many liberal policies. I know you cheer this, but you cannot argue that such would not have a lasting effect.

    3) Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Welfare, and the other social programs enacted in the past have kept Americans from dying like they did in the past. These programs are used by Republicans just as they are by Democrats.

    4) many entrenched social programs were enacted during Republican control, such as OSHA, the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. In addition, Republicans introduced and strongly supported Welfare. I am in support of these programs, but am merely using them as an example.

  • Biden could ruin the country because his programs might attain bipartisan popularity and success like Medicare or Social Security? Gosh, that IS scary. I’m sure the majority of Americans would hate something the majority of Americans would love!

  • Our republic will survive a second term of Donald Trump, for his policies on domestic and foreign fronts are far superior to those of the opposition and we are resilient enough to keep his delinquencies of form and function within constitutional bounds. Yes, policy beats persona, especially as Democratic problem-solving, should the Biden-Harris ticket win and the Senate turn as blue as the House, will upend far more of our constitutional warrants and governing traditions than if the incumbent continues in office. Contemporary Democratic dogma suggests the following ructions: Electoral College elimination; removal of the filibuster in the Senate; Supreme Court packing to convert the judicial branch into an additional legislative chamber on an ad lib basis; grievance and social justice politics on steroids; confiscatory taxation on income, capital gains and estates so as to sponsor onerous spending and wealth redistribution; restoration of the Iran nuclear accord and the Paris Climate Agreement; mollification of China; and most anything else the Pelosi-Schumer tag team fantasizes. This is truly a hold-back-the-woke election.

  • Trump has done pretty much everything ‘wrong’ that Obama did, in re taking a crap on the Constitution…

    ‘I will act’? No, that’s not your job.

    If Congress doesn’t pass it – whether it’s a wall, amnesty, or COVID relief – it DOES NOT HAPPEN.

    It is not possible to be a principled conservative, and a Trump supporter, at this time: You are either for the Presidency appropriating the powers of a King (but only when ‘our team’ is in the office)… Or you are not.

  • Spot on. Never Trumpers are worse than Progressives – willing to murder our country because their feelings are hurt.

  • On the anniversary of September 11th, the Democratic party’s sanctioned neo-Confederate mobs of hoodlums from Antifa, BLM, and the TDS afflicted have now destroyed more American cities than Al Qaeda.
    Where do the never-Trumpers stand?
    Like the passenger planes that Al Qaeda used to take down the World Trade Center, the CCP used passenger planes to spread their Wuhan lab coronavirus (Covid 19/SARS2) pandemic and take down World trade.
    The CCP acted prematurely because they did not completely monopolize the production of goods, did not complete building their controlling interest in the World’s financial institutions with dymmy conglomerates, or complete their mining of personal information on everyone in the World. Religious or political prisoners of the CCP are used for slave labor, become on demand organ donors, or are killed in another democidal party purge.
    Where do the never-Trumpers stand?
    Trump was the voice prudently crying out in the wilderness for protecting the sovereign interests of the United States while the political pros were off shoring industrial, manufacturing, energy, and high tech production or engaging in bloody and costly nation building.
    The never-Trumpers have become a wing of the “blame America” Democrats who have promoted lawlessness in our cities, on our borders, and throughout the highest government offices in the land with their contrived witch hunts.
    Where do the never-Trumpers stand?

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